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Roseville City Council saves historic Fiddyment House

By: Brody Fernandez Of Gold Country Media
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The historic Fiddyment House is receiving much needed help, thanks to the Roseville City Council’s approval June 20 for $200,000 in funds to go toward the Historic Fiddyment House Stabilization Project construction bids.

The proposed work includes improvements to the main house, re roofing, replacing dry rot in specific locations, securing the chimney and re-painting. Project funding was approved in the capitol improvement program in 2017 using west Roseville city-wide park funds. Upkeep of the house, after stabilization is complete will be supported by the Roseville Historical Society, pending approval of a long term agreement.

The Fiddyment home site remains on the national register of historic places. The property was first established by Walter Fiddyment and his wife in 1879. The recommendation to council came from Park Planning and Development superintendent Tara Gee.

“The city values this historic landmark, which is also a component of a larger regional park site,” Gee said. “We are excited to be able to go forward with the stabilization project at the house. The work is based on priorities identified in an assessment developed by architects, Page & Turnbull, who are experts in the field of historical preservation.”

Gee emphasized this first major step before more funding arrives.

“The stabilization work will ensure that the structural integrity of the house will remain intact until funding for renovations can be identified,” Gee said.

Roseville Councilman Scott Alvord is excited about the project.

“I was on the Parks and Recreation Commission when we approved a future design for the area around the Fiddyment House that would memorialize Roseville's history,” he said.

Although Alvord recognized that the recent budget reflects otherwise, he reiterated the importance of historical preservation.

“While we don't have the budget to make (the future design) a reality at this point, it seems responsible to issue a request for approval to find out what it will take to at least safely stabilize this treasure until we can afford to help bring the historical vision to life,” Alvord said.

Roseville Vice-Mayor Bonnie Gore spoke to Gold Country Media about the decision.

“The call for bids for HFH Stabilization Project on the consent portion of the City Council meeting passed unanimously,” Gore said. “I’m hopeful the bids will come in within the allocated capital improvement program budget, which would allow us to approve a contract and move forward with the initial stabilization effort.”

Gore praised the partners now involved with the project.

“I’m happy that we have started a partnership with the Roseville Historical Society to have their volunteers assist with upkeep of the property,” Gore said. “This helps reduce the burden on our General Fund budget. This is a great example of government and the nonprofit sector working together to preserve community history.”

Roseville Historical Society president and Roseville historian Christina Richter was pleased with the council’s decision.

“All great cities honor their history. The Historical Society would like to make the site into a living history museum, much like Sutter’s Fort in Sacramento and the Bernhard Museum in Auburn,” Richter said. “This would give us an incredible educational tool for young students and adults alike.”

Community involvement is a key for this vision to become reality, according to Richter.

“Going forward, we will continue to partner with the city in efforts to make this beautiful place a community asset,” Richter said. “Depending on the community’s involvement in terms of volunteer efforts and fundraising, it could be a year or two endeavor or it could be much longer. It depends.”